Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Editorial Image

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  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But it is a fact that right up to 1939 (or 1942 in the US) the "respectable" right was right behind Hitler as taking the neccesary measures to deal with the real problems of the German nation.

    Doesn't do to get ahead of oneself. Well after the US's entry into WW2 early outspoken opponents of Hitler such as Dorothy Parker were classified by a still-watchful FBI as PAFs - premature anti-fascists.

    Closer to home, it was the Catholic Church in NZ that imported copies of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will for screening in schools. There was some interesting correspondence in the Listener in the 80s where people recalled having seen it screened right up until the outbreak of war with Germany.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3559 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will for screening in schools

    Context is everything, but it's an astonishing film. Shame about the message...

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Context is everything, but it's an astonishing film.

    As Henry Fuseli said of William Blake, "damned good to steal from". George Lucas, for one, certainly thought so.
    As it was an awful long time ago I can safely fess up to having lifted a few seconds from the VHS soundtrack for a commercial project. When the deadline's pressing and the client's logo morphing from the starry firmament just screams for an ethereal choir emerging from all that synth, why the hell not?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3559 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I wouldn’t piss on Laws if his head was on fire, but cheap (and dishonest) Nazi analogies trivialize the violence done not only to thousands of individuals but a nation’s sense of cultural identity. There’s a large part of the world where that’s not just a rhetorical trope but real, and in many ways still raw, history.

    We do have our own unfortunate history with eugenics, though. As Te Ara notes:

    Organised New Zealand eugenics groups in the early 1900s advocated sterilising those who were 'unfit' to breed. They urged upper-class and middle-class women to stop using contraception and to breed more, to stop the country being dominated by 'defectives'. This report of the establishment of a Eugenic Society in Christchurch appeared in the Poverty Bay Herald in August 1911.

    This longer essay indicates how widespread and respectable eugenicist ideas were in New Zealand in the early 20th century -- not least amongst our proto-feminist heroines.

    The same ideas, in less high-minded form, are behind Laws' poisonous talk about "ferals" and his 2009 proposal to sterilise the underclass. They were echoed in his descriptions of Arie Smith.

    The difference is that most of us now think of Laws as a sick little man. There was a time when his ideas would have been regarded as forward-thinking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This longer essay indicates how widespread and respectable eugenicist ideas were in New Zealand in the early 20th century

    Strongly recommend Hilary's essay. The revelations about the Plunket Society's underpinnings were eye-opening for me.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And yes, there is a fair equivalence when our govt acts to selectively control the reproduction of targeted sections of the population. It's not a cheap shot to raise the Nazi spectre in this matter. People need to be reminded where this sort of thinking can go. Who's next?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Grinderman Blues....

    The same ideas, in less high-minded form, are behind Laws’ poisonous talk about “ferals” and his 2009 proposal to sterilise the underclass.

    Yes, ya have to be careful with that axe, eugenics...

    but seeing it is Friday....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5060 posts Report Reply

  • Lukez,

    Tim Watkin did an interesting piece earlier this month debunking the frequently over hyped welfare dependent teen peril; Teen breeders a national scourge!

    Since May 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    Strongly recommend Hilary's essay.

    Admirable history with some great observations, e.g. the selective use of "Maori" elements to further dubious agendas. Much appreciated.

    It's not a cheap shot to raise the Nazi spectre in this matter.

    As Hilary's essay illustrates, while we find the aims of the NZ eugenicists reprehensible today, many were motivated by what they believed to be genuine humanitarian concern. The excesses of the Nazi era demonstrated how horribly mistaken they were. Beyond common stupidity Laws doesn't have that excuse.

    There are still a number of New Zealanders alive damaged by their first hand experience of Europe's historical "cultural identity" issues. There are a hell of a lot more of us whose lives have been shaped in ways we'll never measure by the legacy of that damage to an entire wartime generation. It's our raw history to deal with as much as it is Germany's, and there's nothing cheap or dishonest about acknowledging that.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3559 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Strongly recommend Hilary's essay. The revelations about the Plunket Society's underpinnings were eye-opening for me.

    Yeah. You can never quite think about Plunket in the same way when you become aware of that stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks for that link to my article on eugenics, Russell. I wrote that in the mid 90s, so its a bit out of date now. (The first internet search I ever did was on 'eugenics' which brought up all sorts of references to neo-Nazi groups.) Since then have found out much more about the disability aspect. The Nazi euthanasia programme started with disabled children and then spread to disabled adults and other 'undesirable' groups. The argument was primary economic - about the cost of disabled people, and how it was a cost to the rest of the citizens - and was run by clinicians and supported by medical staff, policymakers and ordinary people. So when I hear politicians targetting medical and other policies to specific groups, citing economic reasons, alarm bells ring.

    Here is a poster from Wikipedia that I have linked to before which shows a nice clinician, a miserable disabled person and a caption impying that the disabled person is taking 'your' money. This poster collection (held in a US Catholic university) also has one of disabled children with a caption about the shame this brings to parents.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Great to see Trace Hodgson on Media 7 last night. Have long admired his work.

    However, going back to the era of Alister Taylor, Earwig and the Cock collective (my ex brother in law is Lyn Brooke White, brother of Chris, and he is still a wonderful storyteller) - they were all young. Probably most were under 30 when they did their most subversive work. So who are the young political cartoonists now?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Thanks for that link to my article on eugenics, Russell. I wrote that in the mid 90s, so its a bit out of date now.

    I feel a bit daft that I didn’t say it was by you when I linked to it :-) Was too engaged with the content ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Further in this unnerving vein, 1925’s Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders: Report of The Committee of Inquiry Appointed by the Hon Sir Maui Pomare, KBE, CMG, Minister of Health, plucked from obscurity a few years ago by the tireless Jonathan Ah Kit.

    It’s quite terrifying. Quote:

    There are many cases of mentally defective girls, liberated from institutions in New Zealand for the purpose of engaging in domestic service or other work, returning afterwards the mothers of illegitimate children, probably also mentally defective. Unless such are to be maintained for years as wards of the State in institutions, should they ever again be allowed their liberty unless they undergo the operation of sterilization?

    Shudder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    So who are the young political cartoonists now?

    With mainstream print options dying out, I guess they are either doing low circulation zines, blogs or ‘throwing up’ wall art – I have seen some pretty incisive stencil pieces over recent years.
    Might be a niche for Public Address, an open online gallery….
    PA-rody! We have takeoff! Welcome to the scorn fields…

    <added> The print edition of the Walkley Magazine carries some great cartoons/editorial illustrations (as well intelligent coverage of Australian and NZ media) - here's some cartoons from their online presence - worth a poke around the site...
    I still miss Nation Review though...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5060 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Might be a niche for Public Address, an open online gallery....
    PA-rody! We have takeoff! Welcome to the scorn fields...

    Ooh. We only need tick a box to reformat any post Capture-style, so if you wanted to do some curating ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Sydney-based Dunedin academic, Stephen Robertson, did his Hons thesis on this inquiry and the related context. He was one of the first to dig out this aspect of NZ's history. I've been referring to this thesis for years without realising that he is Grant Robertson's older brother.

    Robertson, S. (1989). Production not reproduction: the problem of mental defect in New Zealand, 1900-1939. Unpublished BA Hons, University of Otago, Dunedin.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Hilary:

    So who are the young political cartoonists now?

    While I don't think he's exactly fresh out of school, Guy Body is almost too good for the Herald.

    Russell:

    . . . so if you wanted to do some curating ...

    +1

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3559 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Ripe,

    "It gets reported, mainly because it blocked the traffic, [but] who's listening? Most people actually think the students got a pretty fair go and they should count themselves lucky that they've still got interest free loans and get on with it because, you know, get your training finished and get a job and start contributing."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget-2012/6985706/English-taunts-student-protesters
    ...and pretty cocky for a public servant.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    With mainstream print options dying out, I guess they are either doing low circulation zines, blogs or ‘throwing up’ wall art – I have seen some pretty incisive stencil pieces over recent years.

    Or like me, doing graphic design-based satire.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to merc,

    ...and pretty cocky for a public servant.

    Dem's fighting words. If there was any doubt about how ineffectual the (student) protest movement is in New Zealand....their adversary is now egging them on...

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    PA-rody! We have takeoff!

    “Make it so, Number 1.”

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to chris,

    Yes, I think however that Double Dipton was telling them students to get a haircut and a real job, like what he did...pppffffftttttttttttt

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Play parity

    PA-rody! We have takeoff! Welcome to the scorn fields…

    Scorny pun, Ian! Makes me think of Mel Gibson getting hysterical.

    Love love love the idea though! As long as it's PA-rody and not PAS-tiche ;-)

    Polly want a cracker.....

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3468 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    Polly want a cracker.....

    Careful what ya wish for
    - that was a 5.2 magnitude!
    they'll reset the rebuild clock again...
    <sigh>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5060 posts Report Reply

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